How to help your team believe in themselves

i-believe-in-youYou are a leader with experience. You’ve accomplished a lot in your career and want to give back and help encourage your team to achieve the success that you have. You can see their potential and believe in them – you know they can do it.

Just because you can do it, and believe they can do it, that doesn’t lead to your team’s belief in themselves. For your team to believe in themselves, your belief needs to lead to their belief. They won’t believe until they learn it, know it and experience it. Your part is to teach them, develop them, then let them.

In The Last Lecture, Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch talked about believing in yourself (he called it self-esteem). He said you can’t give it to someone; it has to be developed. His process for developing belief is this, “You give them something they can’t do, they work hard until they find they can do it.”

Here is that process laid out in three steps. Follow these and your team will believe in themselves.

Individuals learn when leaders teach them.

What am I supposed to do to be successful? In order to believe in yourself you have to know what is expected so you understand the definition of success. The only way that this happens is when the individual listens to what is being taught by the leader.

“I have learned a great deal from listening carefully.” – Ernest Hemingway

Individuals know when leaders develop them.

How do I do what I am supposed to do to be successful? Knowing what is expected doesn’t mean you know how to achieve it. This is where leaders show the individuals through side-by-side coaching and mentoring.

“A man only learns in two ways, one is by reading, and the other by associating with smarter people.” – Will Rogers

Individuals experience, when leaders let them.

What does it feel like when I do what I am supposed to do to be successful? Knowing what to do and how to do it is cemented in when you actually do it. Leaders let their team do it on their own so they work through their mistakes and get it right.

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes